Senate bill to legalise French village passes second reading

The Senate, on Tuesday, passed for second reading, a bill to grant legal backing to the Nigeria French Village in Bagadry.

Senate had in the 8th National Assembly passed the same bill which was sponsored by Senator Gbenga Ashafa then but could not get presidential assent.

The same bill was sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola, the All Progressives Congress member representing Lagos West Senatorial District in the current 9th Senate.

The proposed law is titled, “A bill for an Act to provide for the Establishment of the Nigeria French Language Village as an Inter-University Centre for French Studies and other Matters Connected therewith, 2020.”

It sought to give legal backing to the institution which has been in existence since 1991 without a legislation.

Leading the debate on the second reading of the bill, Adeola recalled that the bill passed third reading in the 8th Senate but was not sent for assent and therefore needed to go through a renewed legislative process in the 9th Senate.

He said, “The economic downturn of the 1980s coupled with the devaluation of national currency had made students participation in the year abroad programme extremely expensive and unbearable to parents and sponsors.

“The need to find acceptable and efficient alternative led to the establishment of the Village through a memo by the then government of General Ibrahim Babangida to operate under the National Universities Commission.”

Adeola argued that Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in French Language proficiency among the comity of nation.

He added that there was the need to “equip all eligible and interested Nigerians with French skills across interpersonal relationship as well as take up employment slots meant for Nigerians at the global level”

Senator Smart Adeyemi supported the bill on the basis of all the country’s neighbours being Francophone countries.

No senator opposed by any senator and was committed to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institution and TETFUND for further legislative action.

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